Strength training has many health benefits for both men and women. Often women are scared of lifting weights and see them as intimidating and more of a "mans" thing. But ladies, lifting weights is going to be the key to your success, and will help you with generating results effectively and within a maximised amount of time too!
Don't be put off by the words "building muscle" either, because building lean muscle tissue is not going to make you look bulky , but have you looking leaner, feeling stronger, fitter more mobile and all round amazing! (did you know that there is no such thing as "toned" toned is just a sexy word for building lean muscle tissue)
If you have been training in the weights section for sometime now and are not seeing any results in regards to muscle gain (or what most women refer to as "toned") then these 5 reasons could be why:
1. You are not lifting heavy enough :
Don't just do 10 reps with 5kg because the programme tells you to, you need to be lifting a weight that will bring you to failure. Progressive overload includes the weight you are lifting, increasing or decreasing your sets and reps - you need to be pushing yourself to failure to stimulate the muscle growth. For example you could be lifting a heavy weight that is 10kg and only be able to get 9 reps because that is your failure point and that is fine, because it means you are going to be stimulating the muscles, which is where you are going to see results. A rep range between 8-20 is something to aim for, the rep range needs to be pushing you to your limit with the muscle group that you are targeting.
2. Exercise selection :
The exercises that you are choosing need to be targeting a variety of muscles and muscle groups. Exercises such as your compound lifts, which include: pull ups, dead lifts, bench press, squats, front squats. Try and ensure you are doing more of these exercises as they are multi joint exercises, meaning you use more joints to do the movement, for example a bicep curl is using only single joint, which means it is only using one muscle, where as if you are doing a squat you are bending at the hips and the knees, therefore you will have more than one muscle working during that exercise to be able to maximise your results. Don't spend hours isolating muscle groups because that will take you an hour + to complete, where as if you focus on doing your workouts with compound lifts you can complete a great effective workout in 30 minutes!
3. Training your muscles more than once per week:
Stimulate your muscles and muscle groups more than once per week. Don't just rely on one leg session per week to give you results, aim for 4 workouts per week where you are hitting those muscle groups more than once. For example, if you are wanting to build some muscle you need to be thinking about your training frequency, and try to include squats for example in your workouts at least 2-3 times per week.
4. Eat to fuel your training:
If you are not eating enough protein, your body is not going to be able to produce and build the muscle required, so it is important that you are focusing on good nutrition around your training. If you are going into the gym and you have not eaten anything, then you are not able to sustain the intensity when lifting those heavy weights, compared to if you had a banana for example, or some form of carb (the bodies preferred source of energy) to give you an instant energy hit (it is the easiest source of fuel for your body to use), this way you can progress and start increasing your weights more, because you have the energy to do so.
In regards to eating when training, if it is something like a low intensity walk, or jog, or something that you can hold a conversation whilst doing, then doing it fasted (on an empty stomach) will be fine. However if you want the results, or to hit some personal bests, increase your weight in resistance training then I would highly recommend you fuel yourself.
5. You are doing too much cardio or too much cardio before your session:
Train weights before you train cardio for optimal results, or doing cardio on a seperate day so that it does not effect your "gains", if you are doing too much of it. If your primary goal is to build some muscle, then make sure you stick to the weights, without exhausting yourself with cardio before hand. When you are warming up before a training session, warm up the specific muscle groups that you are choosing to train on that particular day instead of walking or running or rowing for 15-20 minutes before you start with your resistance training.
If you need help with your resistance training and need a personalised programme, then get in touch with me today so I can help you reach your goals!